Journal des Dames et des Modes, Costumes Parisiens, fevrier

Explaining the importance of being copyright aware at Sziget

This summer, COMMUNIA joined efforts with the Copyfighters to raise awareness on the ongoing Copyright Reform in EU at the music festival SZIGET. Sziget Festival is one of the most important, well attended and well known music and cultural festivals in Europe, gathering visitors from all corners of the world each August. In the heart of Hungary, the Obudai-sziget island, people across the world visit the festival for a few days to enjoy the music and to be inspired. Sziget has a Civil Island where current social issues can be discussed. On this island, in tent 50, we offered information about the current copyright reform and how it will affect citizens.

On three consecutive days, between 8th and 11th of August, surrounded by the SZIGET beats and its unique vibes (of freedom), we have discussed and raised awareness on the current importance of copyright issues in Europe and the potential affects that draft copyright regulations would have on digital freedoms.

Festival goers and visitors of SZIGET’s Tent 50 were asked what values they find important and how these values relate to the importance of copyright. They suggested words such as Europe, sharing, learning, knowledge and art as important values or concepts that are (or should be) equally or more important than copyright.

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Having an upcoming vote on the proposed Copyright Directive scheduled on September 12th, the current copyright reform is in the eye of the legislative storm in Europe. Copyright laws in their essence, are an instrument aimed in the creative sector, with the purpose to keep the balance – between the interests of creators and the public.

However, copyright reform in Europe aimed originally at adjusting copyright to the challenges of the digital world, took some unexpected turns during its consultation and prolonged discussion within EU institutions in the last years. The proposed copyright Directive has now the potential – and especially its article 13, the so-called ‘upload filter’ – to influence the development not only of the creative sector, but also – the internet itself and digital freedoms.

Art. 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive was therefore among those highly discussed within SZIGET booth. The article represents one of its most controversial provisions, that bears the potential to influence the Internet and digital freedoms via introducing a new, not clearly worded, obligation to the Internet platforms – to filter uploaded content automatically.

As Vint Cerf and other internet pioneers pointed in a recent Joint Letter on the Copyright Reform in EU – “By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet, from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

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The automated surveillance and control over the users (in relation to creative works and creative sector), the restraint over ideas and works, is by many considered as a step towards censorship. Our objective at SZIGET was to communicate the ideas of free creative flows, in the digital and analoge world, and to engage SZIGET goers to join the current fight on copyrights. Visitors of the our booth have written messages on postcards, addressed to their respective MEPs within EU, that shall be delivered well before the upcoming vote on September 12th.

COMMUNIA leaves SZIGET with warm memories, many new friends and hopes for a common European position on the Copyright Reform.

This post was written by Plamena Popova.

Etching of a printer's press by Abraham Bosse.
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